When our outreach teams found an 11-year-old boy wandering around platform eight at Dadar Station they knew he was in danger. Being so young and vulnerable he was a target for traffickers and those looking to abuse and exploit children, using the busy stations as a hunting ground. We spoke to him and managed to get him to tell us what had happened. The boy’s name was Madhav and he had left his hometown in Jogeshwari with a friend, hoping to have some fun in the city. He said: “I came to see Mumbai city with my friend as I do not want to go to school anymore.” But Madhav and his friend had separated along the way, and the boy was now alone. We explained to him the danger he was in but he was still reluctant to give us any contact details for his family.
Eventually we tracked down his mother who said: “My son is refusing to go to school. He keeps wasting time and wandering around all day. I am very concerned about him but I do not know what is bothering him.” Our teams took the boy back home and followed up by visiting the whole family together and talking to them to find out what was causing Madhav to put himself at risk and refuse to attend school. The boy soon admitted that he had got into trouble at school for misbehaving. He said: “My friend told me that because of this, my teacher is going to fail me and I will have to repeat the year.” We were able to contact the school and reassure Madhav that this was not the case and that he should go back to school. Now that he is no longer terrified of failing at school, Madhav is settled back into his lessons and is working hard.